Lists as Backbone of early writing

“…… the very first phase of writing’s development, were lexical texts, word lists containing terms … names of metal objects, ceramic vessels, textiles, cities, trees, plants, cattle, swine, birds, fish, etc. Along with mathematical reckoning, these lexical lists were undoubtedly the backbone of early scribal education.”

The Library of Alexandria, Roy Macleod, I.B. Tauris, 2004, p.20


I was thinking of cuneiform this morning as I was practicing working with Japanese ink and  a new brush I brought from Kyoto.

I love lists, inventories, dictionaries, etc.; Creating in such a frame makes me feel free as an initiator of an imaginary world. This is probably one of the reasons most of my art is named under a fictional mound called: Tel Nona. This is where I invent history.

This “Blog as artwork” – is also an aspect of digging in my mound.

As a resonance to the  cuneiform I was trying not to know reading and writing, only to count to ten- as the number of fingers on our hands.

As the strokes add up- I can see how every single tiniest move of my hand or body gesture, changes the image  on paper. There are no two identical dots.


Toddlers name, count, and by that arrange order in their world.


I recall Adam and Eve, who were given the task to name animals in The Garden.

They too were babies learning right from wrong, order of the world and growing up to realize they are out of the garden.

So I continue counting.

Beth She’arim excavations, 2014 – Naming


2 Responses

  1. Nona, I never seem this post before… I love it. Right in front of me, in my studio I put a picture of anciant hebrew writing I took from the “Good Samaritan” sight, where a lot of ancient mosaics found in the region are related to the Samaritans who lived there and still do.
    I love the transperacy consept of the pages laid one on top of the others – layers….

  2. Nona, these are so wonderful..we most likely had a Japanese sensibility before we were born… I never took my calligraphy lessons in Tokyo far…thank you again…

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